Listening to Forever Changed by Carrie Underwood isn’t easy. In an interview with ABC Nightline in 2012, Ms. Underwood said the song is so personally emotional for her that she’ll never sing it in public. As most songs in country music are, this one is also based on the story of a life: One of the writers of the song wrote it about his mom living with Alzheimers. Like many of us, the song brings Carrie back to that very difficult time when she lost her own grandmother.
[Tweet this] – ‘Forever Changed by #CarrieUnderwood, an incredibly moving song about #Alzheimers’
Change, How Do We Endure When It’s Coming At us So Hard
Most of us know the expression, ‘the only constant in life is change’, however, this kind of change, the change from Alzheimers or Dementia is an emotional tornado, that if you’ve personally experienced, you know only too well the torment and heartbreak it brings to those who have to watch their loved one’s memories slip away. Equally worse is to watch the sometimes hellish place of fear their mind may intermittently create. It’s beyond words to bear witness when this happens to someone you love.
A lifetime of memories, a lifetime of work, a lifetime of love, taken for a period of time before our loved one passes on – that’s the story of this song. I’m not an expert on this disease, but I do know it’s even harder, almost unbearable, for those even closer to the person I’m speaking about.
Reflecting on Our Lives, Living with Love
The older I get the more John Lennon’s simple message resonates with me, ‘All You Need is Love’. Of course society is set up to ensure ‘we need’ more to survive, or ‘just because’, but in the end, it comes down to one simple measurement, love; are you loved, do you freely give love. I like to think that for most of us, the answer is yes, and for those who answer ‘no’, I send love from this page. What in the hell is it all for if we don’t love, deeply love, even when it’s bloody hard to love someone, even when they don’t deserve our love.
I’m a proponent for ‘forgive everything’, and I do mean everything. It’s how I’ve lived. It’s how I want my children to live; it’s the greatest gift they can give themselves. The people closest to us can hurt us the most and in the end, forgiveness, as hard as it can be, is the only road to peace and more importantly, our way back to self love.
In my ‘Mom’s Messages‘ series I speak to my boys about this, so I’ll add this page to my growing list of written motherly advice. When it’s my time to say goodbye to my children-angels, my life, and this journey as ‘me’, I pray they know that my greatest wish for them is to be happy, to live simply, to contribute to the greater good, and to know that they will forever be the greatest love I’ve ever known, equal to the love I hold for my own mother and father. I tell my boys how much they’re loved, and my parents have always done the same. My dad said ‘I love you’ to just about everyone he knew. Mom and Dad taught me what it means to love, and if I never accomplish any of my dreams, in the end it won’t matter because I know that I love deeply and am deeply loved.
(Lyrics) Nothing Ever Stays the Same, Forever Changed – A Song about Alzheimers
Life’s changing channels are often too much to handle. in fact, I wish I could lose the remote for that.
As much as I want ‘change’ to stop, as much as I feel we need it to stop, it won’t. We’re all feeling the changes in this world, the pressures, the often heavy burdens we have to carry. However, there’s also a light, a bright shining light surrounding all of us. It’s this light that holds us when the world is too tough to bear, it’s this light that wraps us up in a heated blanket and leads us out of darkness. It’s what gets me through. I personally believe it’s where hope comes from, from light.
The recent loss of my father on top of this now new challenge in our life, hasn’t left me hopeless, it’s caused me to seek the light, and to hold it close when I feel that even taking a breath is hard. And at night, when I can’t sleep, which is a little too often lately, I safely tuck my head on my pillow, close my eyes, and open a door to a field of beautiful yellow flowers and a sky blanketed with glorious mountains and meet my dad on a park bench in the middle of the field where we talk about life, and where he talks to me and gives me the strength to keep on. As I fall asleep with my head on his lap, he tells me I’m doing a great job, and that everything will work out. He asks me to trust him and reminds me how much he loves me, and with that reassurance, I fall asleep knowing I’ll be able to face another day.
I was one of the fortunate ones, my dad was never afflicted with Alzheimer’s, and for that I am eternally grateful. For another loved one enduring Dementia, although it’s hard, we’re loving them through it. Blessings to you and yours if you’re going through this often gut wrenching changing part of life. Forever changed in body, and when the soul is freed from the burdens of the body, forever changed.
Helpful Information for others having to cope with the tremendous challenge of Alzheimer’s & Dementia:
- Dawn Rae has written a helpful review of several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul, Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia‘. In my travels over the holidays I happened to see it sitting on a shelf in a book store, and decided to pick it up as a gift for someone. Glad I did, as the review outlines, ‘it’s like having a support group while reading on your couch’.
- Merry Citeralla, owner of Alzheimers HQ, has been writing for years about Alzheimer’s. She’s as kind as her writing, and through her own experiences is contributing to the greater good with her collection of genuine and helpful information about Alzheimer’s/Dementia.
- For a more practical, matter of fact collection of info on Alzheimer’s you can also visit the National Institute on Aging
- If music helps with your healing, I’ve also written about another moving and very beautiful song about Alzheimer’s by Rascal Flatts called ‘Ellsworth’. The story talks about grandma’s enchanting memories as she travels back in her mind to re-live her journey with the love of her life, grandpa.
About the Song, Forever Changed
You can find Forever Changed on Carrie Underwood’s fourth studio album, Blown Away. It was written by Tom Douglas, James T. Slater, & Hillary Lindsey. It was released on May 1st, 2012. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 with it’s first week of sales. Fans of Carrie Underwood can find more information about her on her Website, Facebook and Twitter.